Jun 1, 2018

QK Round 1: O Sister, Where Art Thou? VS Tequila Mockingbird

Title: The Lost Sister
Entry Nickname: O Sister, Where Art Thou?
Word Count: 85K
Genre: Women’s Fiction

Query:

Lee Denning loves her job in a tiny town in Texas as an electrical engineer at an airplane and truck scale company, except when her boss speaks or she sleeps with one of the guys from the machine shop. Luckily, both are easily handled by Lee, who has a hot soldering iron and isn’t afraid to use it.

When Lee’s mother reveals that her younger sister, Ally, has disappeared to join a return-to-nature camp with a tech billionaire turned Luddite, Lee is determined to find her wayward sister even if it destroys her comfortable, simple life.

With the help of a few friends, her investigation leads the group to Oklahoma where they play an invigorating round of tag with a bull and argue over who will be sacrificed in the charming ghost town. Even when it feels like they are getting nowhere, Lee can’t give up on finding her sister—if only to smack her upside the head for her propensity to stir up drama.

They manage to locate the camp, but nothing is as expected. Ally isn’t there. Lee soon discovers her mother and Ally concocted the entire story to hide the embarrassing reality of Ally’s situation. The betrayal hits Lee like a wet towel on her behind. In the end, Lee must decide whether to put aside her pride and acknowledge her role in the family discord or be done with their nonsense for good.

First 250:

I solved problems while still in the womb. My mother told me I remained stubbornly in the breach position until the last minute when I did a major pivot for my debut. Then I grew up and became an engineer. Tangible problems were my forte because with emotional dilemmas, my solution of “get over it” usually wasn’t met with much enthusiasm by anyone. At work, though, I shined since I didn’t have to care why the problem existed. The whys in life were best left to someone who gave a crap

For instance, why did I have a naked man in my bed? Did it really matter?

I opened the top drawer of my dresser and slammed it closed with a resounding bang. The guy jerked. He squinted as his eyes adjusted to the bright room.

A slow smiled spread across his lips. “Morning, Lee.”

Chris was hot but so dumb. I first noticed him when he stumbled through the engineering department after he sliced off the tip of his finger while cutting a piece of metal—poorly. He held his left hand in a bloody rag, and despite his obvious wooziness, he had locked eyes with me. From that moment, he acted like one of those energetic birds from the Galapagos Islands doing his mating dance all over the company. He left me roses in my desk drawers. He hovered around my work table, blinking his long, dark eyelashes seductively.

Then he saved my life from a bee.



 VS



Title: Day of the Dead
Entry Nickname: Tequila Mockingbird
Word Count: 89,000
Genre: Adult Comedic Mystery

Query:

DAY OF THE DEAD is a story of lost love and what happens when you discover more about your partner – and yourself – than you bargained for. It is a humorous mystery in the vein of Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich.

Claire Giannini is about to take the most terrifying step of her life – marriage. But she’ll have to find her missing fiancé first. When Andre vanishes in colonial San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, during their annual Day of the Dead festival, Claire overcomes her fears of enclosed spaces, mummified bodies, stampeding bulls and short bald men named Cyril, in order to search for him.

Still reeling from her father’s death, Claire can’t bear to lose another person she loves. Not without a fight, anyway. Relying on her journalism school research skills and Italian-Irish tenacity, she finally corners the man who can give her answers. But he inconveniently drops dead. Leaving Claire as the prime suspect and in danger of becoming the next victim.

First 250:

The pregnant one frightened Claire most of all. Face twisted in agony as if the woman died mid-labour pain. Mouth frozen in a permanent scream. Midsection caved in like a collapsed soufflé.

“No epidural for you, I guess,” Claire whispered to herself. She looked around at the glass cases that lined the walls of the Museo de las momias and shuddered. When Danny said Andre was last seen in a museum, Claire pictured displays of old coins and broken pottery, not skeletal corpses with parchment skin and bared teeth. The mummified cadaver stretched out before her was naked to the ankles – resting for all eternity wearing nothing but a pair of filthy socks.

As horrified as she was, Claire couldn’t look away. Like the time her mother sang “I’m Every Woman” at karaoke.

She spun around to shake off the memory and spotted three teen girls snapping photos of themselves with the exhibits.

Mummy selfies. Peachy.

Between the jet lag and the sleepless nights since she got Danny’s call telling her Andre was missing, Claire felt her head spin. What day was it again? Tuesday?

She’d intended to come down to Mexico to reconcile with Andre not search for him. And to end up here? The thought that her plane had crashed and she was in hell crossed her mind.

What on earth had Andre been doing in this ghoulish place? He winced at the sight of a dead bird.

17 comments :

  1. Judges, please respond with your feedback and vote here! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOST SISTER: I really like the premise, but I think you could afford to be more specific. What is the secret about Lee's sister? Also, I'm not sure we need the set up paragraph about her job unless it's important to the plot.

      I love Lee's voice, but there's a whole lot of telling which is getting in the way of the plot moving forward. A few asides here and there are great, but the whole first paragraph feels like an info dump. Also, calling someone hot and dumb doesn't make Lee sympathetic. If she's not supposed to be, that's fine.

      DAY OF THE DEAD: Generally, you don't use a query to explain themes, just start with the first line and then put the comp titles at the very end. The first line/hook is awesome! That's what's going to grab a reader. (Claire Giannini is about to take the most terrifying step of her life – marriage. But she’ll have to find her missing fiancé first.)

      You set up a great mystery, but I'm a little confused about who the man is who can give her the answers. Is it Andre or someone else?

      In the 250, I can't tell who Danny is. A friend, a brother? Otherwise, great voice and set up!

      VICTORY TO DAY OF THE DEAD

      Delete
    2. The Red CardiganJune 2, 2018 at 4:43 PM

      O Sister, Where Art Thou?: I like the premise here, a woman searching for her sister, but I feel this query is will not grab attention due to it’s lack of specificity. Who sleeps with the men from the machine shop, Lee, or her boss? Why is she determined to find her sister? Does she have a close relationship with her? Who are the friends that join her? Is this a road trip book? And most of all, what is the ‘embarrassing reality of Lee’s situation’ that her mother is trying to hide? I love the character here— a female engineer in a machine shop, but I thing this query is too vague. First Page: Wow! Great voice! I have a firm grasp of Lee as a character, and I love her. The firs two sentences about solving problems are great. No complaints on the page at all.

      Tequila Mockingbird: This query works for me. Tight, tells me the stakes, and the setting. No complaints. First page: Wow, this looks great! I love the voice, and the setting is painted so well. Only suggestion I have is to lose the line about her mother singing karaoke. It took me out of the story. Other than that, great humor.

      These are both quite good, but Victory to Tequila Mockingbird!

      Delete
    3. Comments for Lost Sister:

      Regarding the query: this is well structured, but there are a few minor edits that might strengthen it. In the first sentence, you might consider replacing the comma after "company" with an em-dash. In the second paragraph, "comfortable, simple life" sounds a bit condescending to my ear. Last paragraph--can you be more specific about Ally's "situation?" Also, maybe consider replacing "wet towel on her behind" with something a bit more solid?

      Regarding the first 250: fifth paragraph, "he had locked eyes with me" should be just "he locked eyes with me." Other than that, this is solid. Love the voice and attitude.

      Comments for Tequila Mockingbird:

      I like this query a lot. You have a great hook, and I want to know where this is going. My only complaint here is that I don't have a great feel for the plot yet. This query is fairly short. Another few sentences might go a long way toward clarifying things.

      Your first 250 is awesome. I don't think I'd touch a thing there.

      These are both really good queries, and either would have won most of the matchups I've read through so far. I have to pick a winner, though, and Lost Sister just has a few more things to work on.

      Victory to Tequila Mockingbird.

      Delete
    4. O Sister, Where Art Thou?

      Query
      This sounds kind of zany and charming, but there are too many details that distract from the plot (third paragraph could be cut and include the friends in the last if needed). I like the last line, but there wasn’t enough about Lee’s relationship with her family (and discord) at the beginning for it to drive the point home. In the opening paragraph, you could make more clear that Lee loves her job and town because it’s *away* from her mother and sister or something to that effect.

      250
      Fun voice, and it sets up the character’s personality nicely! There’s a period missing at the end of the first paragraph.


      Tequila Mockingbird

      Query

      This is fun! You should start with Claire Giannini, and the current first line shouldn’t be needed if you convey that effectively in the rest of the query (and I personally think comps should go at the end). The list of Claire’s fears is humorous, but it’s also distracting. It might be best to stick with mummified bodies since that pertains to your opening. The ending needs more about what Andre was mixed up in so we have a better sense of Claire’s danger.

      250
      Great juxtaposition of humor and intrigue. I’d love to keep reading.


      Hmm, this is tough. The queries both need work, so I’m going to go with the 250 that better drew me in, so…


      VICTORY TO TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD!

      Delete
    5. Earthbound MisfitJune 3, 2018 at 5:52 PM

      Sister:

      Query: I'm intrigued by the madcap-quest aspect of this story, and the fact that it disrupts the narrator Lee's daily routine. However, I was a bit thrown off by the third paragraph of the query. In part, I think it's the level of detail allotted to the humorous side quests—while funny, I also found myself thinking "huh?" when we got to the ghost town. What ghost town? Why the sacrifice? I wasn't sure what it had to do with the ongoing plot action. My suggestion is to tweak the wording there so it doesn't distract as much from the forward momentum of the query—but don't lose the humor!

      1st 250: I just kept cracking up during this entire opening. So well done in terms of voice, and it fulfills the promise of wisecracking humor hinted at in the query.


      Tequila:

      Query: The premise of this story is very fun, and promises a lot of humor both in the character herself and the plot action, but I think you could more effectively structure the query by moving some of the pieces around. For instance, I suggest moving "Still reeling from her father’s death, Claire can’t bear to lose another person she loves. Not without a fight, anyway" to the first paragraph, before "When Andre vanishes." I think it would flow more smoothly that way. Also, the final line is a sentence fragment—I suggest combining it with "But he inconveniently drops dead,…"

      1st 250: Great opening image with the mummy, and you do a nice job of establishing character through the narrator's reactions in the mummy museum. My main concern here is that I'm not yet feeling a lot of underlying worry or concern from Claire about her missing fiancé. I think the jokes are working and are funny, but balancing them out with a little more tension about Andre being unaccounted for would provide some additional momentum.


      These were both very funny and enjoyable, and it was tough to decide, but…

      Victory to O Sister, Where Art Thou!

      Delete
    6. Mrs. Will HerondaleJune 4, 2018 at 4:12 PM

      O Sister, Where Art Thou?

      Query: Well-written, great voice. The details in the first paragraph are great, but I wonder if you could probably cut or condense it, as it doesn’t really relate to the rest/the inciting incident. I guess it reveals character, but a whole paragraph for just showing us personality is a lot. Something to think about. I also wonder if you’re actually telling us too much in the last paragraph. I’m guessing the reveal that they concocted the whole thing is a big reveal in the book…maybe don’t give that away in the query? Maybe leave us wanting to know what’s so interesting/surprising that she finds out and that forces her to take a long/hard look at herself and her family.

      First 250: Awesome first paragraph, but it’s missing a period. Actually, I love this whole thing. So much voice and I want to know how he saved her life from a bee! Ha!

      Tequila Mockingbird

      Query: I love the humor in this, and it’s really well-written. It seems like there are two mysteries happening here—finding her fiancé, and the murder mystery where she might become the next target. Are these connected? It would be the icing on the cake, if you could clarify the connection and tie it all together.

      First 250: “Like the time her mother sang ‘I’m Every Woman’ at karaoke!” I died laughing at that line. So funny. I love the whole page. I think you meant *she* winced, not he.

      Aw, man. I’m so sad these are paired together because they were both so good, and so funny.

      VICTORY TO TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD!

      Delete
    7. Mrs. Will HerondaleJune 4, 2018 at 4:17 PM

      Wait! Nevermind, I read the last sentence wrong. I see what you meant. He winced is correct. :)

      Delete
  2. The Lost Sister:
    Query-

    I love mysteries and wilderness stories. Sounds like a fun read!! Your first line is too long. The part about the airplane/truck company not needed. Trim back to tighten the prose. I'm not sure what this is about: a wild-goose chase/mystery involving sister (and make us care about her...is mother dying and wishes to see her daughter one last time etc.) or her life as an engineer? I might reword it to reflect this: "I went from electrical engineer to joining the girl scouts searching for my long-lost flighty sister. Babysitting was not in my job description." :)
    P.S. don't give away the ending in your query.

    250-

    Give us a sense of things to come, typical day turned disaster when she gets word of her missing sister. "Chris was hot but dumb" Show us this. I'm more confused by the last line not intrigued. If he saves her from a bee, is she allergic? might want to explain this a little further. Or state, Chris isn't so dumb after all. His medical emergency training kicked in..etc. Good Luck!!

    Day of the Dead:

    Query-

    I adore mysteries especially since this one is set during the magical Day of the Dead! Great first line! I'm a little confused in the beg of your query. I thought at first she and the guy were together when he disappeared. I'd set this up by better. Give us a clearer picture. When Claire runs off to Mexico to meet up with her fiance, she discovers from a friend he's been missing for ...days. "Relying on her journalism school research skills" is a mouthful:) I'd just say journalism skills. Does she use them like an investigative reporter?

    250-

    Just trying to figure out who Danny is. I like the idea of her being in a museum. But she seems a little less frightened than I would suspect if she just got word her fiance is missing. Play up her humor covering her anxiety. To me it seems she's just wandering through a museum having a good time. Have her check her phone a dozen times...give us signs of her nervousness regarding the man she loves! Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  3. O Sister, Where Art Thou?

    Query: I really like the humor in the first paragraph, but unless Lee’s job plays into the story then you probably don’t need to mention it. I’m a little confused by what you mean by “who will be sacrificed” though, and what was Ally’s embarrassing situation? I’m finding it difficult to understand exactly what the story is about without some specifics. I think the stakes are good, but without specifics mentioned in the query beforehand, I don’t know what the family nonsense is.

    First 250: LOVE the voice and the first line. My only issue is there seems to be a lot of backstory after that. The story about how she met Chris is cute, but it’s a lot of telling, especially on the first page. Also, before we knew his name, I figured she didn’t know him because she said “The guy jerked.” I wouldn’t consider someone “the guy” if I knew him well, as it appears later on that she does.


    Tequila Mockingbird

    Query: This query is intriguing, but it really needs to be longer. Be more specific on how she uses her skills. Tell us a little more about Claire herself. Make the stakes entirely clear. I’d also remove the first paragraph describing the story and go straight into your second. You could easily add 100 more words and still be well within average query length. Lastly, the last two sentences should really be combined into one.

    First 250: I love the humor and voice. But who is Danny? And I wonder why she’s even in the museum. I understand that’s where her fiancé went missing, but is she looking for clues there? Waiting to talk to someone? Though I love her humor, I’m just not getting that she’s terribly worried about her fiancé. Show us a little bit more – Claire nervously biting her nails, checking her phone, etc., so we can get a feel for what she’s feeling.

    Good luck to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Two great entries, both of which I'd read further on. But I have to give you some complaints, otherwise what good will I do you, right? Okay, all minor stuff, but here goes.

    Sister
    On the query, I need more specificity. There are too many questions raised so that I don't really know entirely what's going on. The two biggest issues for me: what are the stakes if she chooses A versus B? And what is this "embarrassing reality" of her sister's situation? I don't think you can leave that vague because it's too important.

    The first sentence is super long. Consider cutting it or breaking it into two.
    Smiled should be smile.
    Finally, when he puts roses in her drawers, isn't that a little too creepy? That's invading her personal space. Maybe roses need to go sporadically into other places, but opening her drawers seems to cross a line into creepy.

    Tequila:
    Wow, fun stuff. Couple things on the query. I'd move the comps to the end. You can start with description of your story or you can start with the story itself, but I don't think you start with comps. Love the line about short, bald me and your placement. Great job. I think you have a modifier issue in paragraph 2 with "him."

    Fantastic opening line in your 250. Loved it. The whole excerpt is really well done. Your voice comes out clearly. Nice work. Only thing that threw me--maybe I missed something--was "He" in the final sentence. Shouldnt' that be She or am I missing something?

    Well done by both contestants. Glad I'm not a judge!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nathaniel GlanzmanJune 2, 2018 at 9:21 PM

    O' Sister:

    I agree with the above comments: The humor is excellent! However, the stakes are made a little unclear by the lack of specifics. What is Ally's embarrassing situation? What are the stakes if she chooses X or Y? You put a lot of attention on the heist of getting Ally back, but you barely touch on the main conflict, which is whether or not she's going to abandon her family--at least, this is the part with the highest stakes. (Also, this is a small quip, but you don't need to tell us all of the details in the first sentence. One or two will do.) This sounds like a wonderful road trip/heist type of story!

    The voice is incredible in the first 250, and you cover a lot of ground: The backstory, her philosophy on life, the description of Chris, the story behind Chris...I would like to see all of these ideas expanded on a little bit more. But definitely take that with a grain of salt, as I haven't read the full first chapter.


    Tequila:

    You characterize Claire in this query very well! I appreciate the balance of humor and emotion. I wouldn't explain what the story is about in the opening lines--if I were an agent, I'd rather be shown by getting to the actual story. That might be just me, though. You have two main conflicts here: Claire trying to find her husband and her being a suspect in a murder. I would give more attention to the second conflict, as it kind of comes out of nowhere at the very end.

    Your first 250 words are EXTREMELY strong! You have perfect command over descriptions and characterization. I know exactly where Claire is, what she's feeling and who she is and all wrapped in a wonderfully-written package. My only piece of advice would be to, when introducing Andre, give a hint as to how important he is to her from the very beginning. When you name-drop Andre, we don't know how important he is to Claire yet and we have no reason to care from the start. Overall, great work!

    ReplyDelete
  6. These both look amazing, and I love how they are paired together.

    O SISTER

    I loved the 250. The general thoughts about being a problem-solver followed by the "Why did I have a naked man in my bed? Did it matter?" really made me laugh. (side note: I don't know if you are familiar with Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies rubric, but I'm guessing your character is an upholder)

    I think you could consider less plot summary in your query. You don't really need to go all the way up to where she finds out her sister isn't at the camp - I was already intrigued before then. And if you are trying to cover less ground, it will be easier to be more specific.

    TEQUILA

    Another great first line in the 250 - I was drawn right in. In the query, I did want there to be some reason her husband went missing - it just seemed so random - but I guess the main character feels that way too. Small edit, but I think in this line you need a comma: She’d intended to come down to Mexico to reconcile with Andre, not search for him.

    ReplyDelete
  7. O Sister, Where Art Thou?

    Your story really draws me in, and I like Lee’s strong, almost brutish character. In the query I’d like a little more information on what “Ally’s situation” is. I can guess a slew of things, but if you could give us a hint that would be nice and let us know what issues we’re headed into. If you want to trim your query you could leave out the info about her job. I’m more excited to read about her sister being missing, the family discord, etc. In other words, the conflict and what’s at stake for her. You lay it out well, it just took a while to get to it.

    I thought your writing style was fun and moved at a nice pace. Is the beginning of your story really backstory? If so, consider sprinkling it later and instead start right out with the conflict (sister is missing). This will draw the reader into your story faster and make it more exciting from the get-go.

    Tequila Mockingbird

    I would move the first para of your query to the end so the query starts right in with the story. I love the first sentence of para 2. It draws me in and tells me how Claire feels about marriage and hints at what’s to come. I also love the last sentence of your query. It makes me want to read the pages. I would combine the last 2 sentence into 1 for more impact. It’s a great hook. I do think you could one more paragraph to your query about the story. How is her father’s death significant? What was their relationship? Also, you say she needs to reconcile with her fiancé. Maybe tell more about what their rift was and why he fled to Mexico.

    I like the writing in the first 250. It’s fun and draws me in. I like that you drop us into the story right away. Instead of saying “As horrified as she was,” show me how she feels. Do her palms sweat? Stomach lurch? Feel likes she wants to run to the airport and get on the first plane home? Etc. In the first sentence same thing – don’t tell me she’s frightened, show me with her reactions. Check out the Emotion Thesaurus. It’s helped me a lot with stuff like this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. O Sister
    Query: I like the voice here and I was really digging the plot—until I got to the past paragraph. Nothing is as it seems! A lost sister is not the problem after all. Boy did the air rush out of my balloon! But reading the comments I see that others didn’t feel the same, so I guess it’s just me.
    The first 250 was just okay for me. Run-on and overlong sentences in the last paragraph left me feeling gasping for air.

    Tequila Mockingbird
    Query: I’d move the first paragraph to the end.; the second paragraph sounds like the more natural opening. The sentence that begins with “When Andre…” is really long and I wonder if it would benefit from being broken up into two or more sentences. Having said that, I’m interested enough to read more.
    First 250: Love the first line; love the museum images… like a collapsed soufflé—Awesome image! Watch out for sentence fragments, I got caught a couple of times and had to re-read to get what you were saying. Good voice.

    ReplyDelete
  9. O Sister, Where Art Thou?

    The first line comes off confusing and I had to re-read it the 'boss speaks' part - maybe you could cut it down to one detail - whether it's her boss being.. etc. Also, you don't need to add 'airplane and truck scale' unless its really important because that can be a mouthful of info to digest. I'm not too sure why her mother is her bothered with Ally disappearing - is she young? Is she running away from something? From reading the rest of the query, the tech billionaire doesn't seem to have a connection so its best to remove that maybe. Why would it destroy her life at Texas, though - perhaps add another detail on that? The 'tag with a bull' part seems really interesting and made me giggle - wonderfully written! I don't quite get how it's all connected in the end - what is the embarassing reality? how does it link to Lee? What was the whole point of sending her on the search? Maybe one or two lines will be helpful here - specific details do help capture an agent's interest so feel free to add info. Apart from that, it's a lovely query!

    For your first 250, you certainly brought out a lot of your character in the first paragraph. I would suggest removing the questions from her internal narration - agents don't seem to like those. Maybe expand a little bit on how she's unbothered. Also, the Chris paragraph does seem like an info-dump so maybe cut it out and you can use it later. You need the first 250 words to hook the reader on so jumping to the start of the inciting incident is good. Other than that, your writing is really good and your book sounds wonderful!

    Tequila Mockingbird

    I love that you started off with discussing the main themes - it sets the mood for the rest of the query! Your query is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Every line packs a strong punch and so much voice! There's not much to critique and I'd only suggest changing the last line so that it doesn't start out with a verb (leaving...)

    WOW! Your writing is absolutely marvelous! The first para comes off shocking and hooks the reader in. I'm not too sure about the sentence structure though, since it might bother some agents. Alternative being "Her face twisted in.... pain, mouth frozen.... scream, midsection.... souffle. Horrific." This might help pack more punch with the three's and then one word to add emphasis. The next para is well-written, with the right amount of voice & emotional aspects! I would only suggest no spaces between the em-dash. The 'mother sang' part made me chuckle - you've successfully got me from horrified to a small smile. Well done! The line "Between the jet lag..." is awkwardly phrased - try re-reading it and working out the structure of it. Also, I think it should be: "she intended..." But overall, your story sounds really good! I wish you the best and hope you get published soon!

    ReplyDelete
  10. O SISTER WHERE ART THOU?

    QUERY

    There’s a lot I love about your story. The voice is killer. You show us Lee’s personality and add humor with lines like: “she has a hot soldering iron and isn’t afraid to use it. The idea of her sister running away to a Luddite camp with a billionaire is intriguing.

    But I think you could tighten up the query and add more information about the characters’ motives to make the stakes much clearer. I had trouble figuring out what the story is really about.

    In the first paragraph, “her boss speaking” is vague. “What does he say? Is he teasing her? Hitting on her? Also, how does sleeping with her co-workers make her not love her job? Couldn’t she just stop?

    In the second paragraph, “reveal” seems like the wrong word to use. It would be good to know if her mom asked her to go after her sister or if she decided to do it on her own and why. We need to know more about how the characters relate to each other to understand what Lee’s sister running away means to the family.

    I don’t think you need the third paragraph, unless you can relate it to the main plot.

    I think we need more detail in the last paragraph to help us understand what the stakes are. That will help us invest in the characters and the story.


    FIRST 250

    This opening is fun and tells us a lot about Lee’s personality, but I’m not sure it’s the best place to start the novel. Maybe you could start with the inciting incident: her mom telling her that her sister is missing. This would set up the story question right away and start us wondering what happened to her sister. That conversation would give you a chance to show us a lot about Lee and her relationship to her mom.

    I’m really interested in where you’re going with this story and would love to know how it turns out.


    TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD

    QUERY

    I really enjoyed reading your query and first page. The voice is so much fun, and the stakes are crystal clear. I’ve always loved stories that combine comedy with mystery or horror and you do it very well here.

    A few suggestions: The first sentence of the query is a generalized statement and explanation. You could make it more specific by making it about the main character: Claire Gianniani sets out to search for her lost love and discovers more about her partner – and herself – than she bargained for. Also, I think you should briefly mention the blow-up between Claire and Andre as a reason for him to run off and for her to go after him.

    You do an excellent job of raising the stakes in the third paragraph and letting us know Claire and the reader are in for a wild ride.

    FIRST 250

    Your first 250 works very well with the query. A couple nitpicky things, to make it more active, I think you should change the line to: Claire’s head spun. And I think you need to identify who Andre and Danny are when you first mention much them.

    I’d love to read more. Good job.

    ReplyDelete